Canada already has one of the most permissive euthanasia regimes in the world – and it’s about to become even easier for Canadians to kill themselves. Starting in March 2023, Canadians will be able to kill themselves for the sole reason of being diagnosed with a mental illness.
“On March 17, assisted dying will become legal for Canadians with a mental disorder as their sole condition,” The Globe And Mail reports.
That will cover individuals like Julie Leblanc, who has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder.
“She wavers between wanting to die and trying to live, especially for her 11-year-old son who is cared for by her parents,” The Globe And Mail reports.
“She has researched medical assistance in dying (MAID) online. MAID sounds peaceful, she says. And also too tempting. How can it be, she wonders, that the same system meant to keep her alive might soon help her die?”
As of now, to be approved for euthanasia, Canadians must meet all three of the following criteria:
- Serious and incurable illness, disease or disability.
- Advanced state of irreversible decline in capability.
- Experiencing enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable.
According to the Canadian government, “Mental Illness as sole underlying medical condition is excluded until March 17, 2023 … after which individuals with a mental illness as their sole underlying medical condition will be able to request and receive MAID.”
Since Canada first legalized MAID in 2016, the number of Canadians who have chosen to kill themselves under the program has increased every year, reaching 10,064 people last year.
Photo Credit: Government of Canada
According to Canada’s 2021 annual report on MAID, euthanasia deaths accounted for 3.3% of all deaths in Canada last year.
Canada’s MAID program has also gotten increasingly liberal since first being legalized. Starting in 2021, the Canadian Parliament passed new legislation that “introduced MAID eligibility for individuals for whom death was not reasonably foreseeable.”
In 2021, Canada’s euthanasia regime killed 219 individuals whose natural deaths were “not reasonably foreseeable.”
One Canadian man recently spoke about why he is applying for MAID – choosing to die – rather than become homeless. His case, along with others, demonstrates the grave problems prevalent with Canada’s euthanasia program.
In a recent interview with CityNews, the man said that he was afraid to die, but feared homelessness even more.
He “has started the process for end of life because his rooming house is up for sale, and he can’t find anywhere else to live that he can afford. He barely survives on Ontario disability support payments which are just over $1,200 a month,” CityNews reports.
The man said, “I don’t wish to be dead. Even with the pain. Even with the meds, I still want to be here.”
Earlier this year, the Daily Citizen highlighted another tragic case where a man was killed by the country’s euthanasia program because he had hearing loss. That’s right, for hearing loss.
The man had no life-threatening medical conditions, wasn’t taking his needed medications and wasn’t wearing his cochlear implant. Still, his request for MAID was approved, and he was killed.
Even though Canada has tried to make its euthanasia regime seem like it has a semblance of reasonableness and is only for those who are gravely ill and near death, these cases demonstrate that is not the case.
Canada’s inclusion of mental illness as a reason to be euthanized will only open up its MAID program to further concerns and abuses. That’s especially true as the amount of people being diagnosed with mental illnesses continues to spike following the government-imposed COVID-19 lockdowns.
In the 1930s, the Nazi regime enacted its euthanasia program and labeled certain individuals, who were seen as costing society too much money, as “Lebensunwertes Leben,” or “life unworthy of life.” The Nazi Party shared propaganda images of disabled individuals with the following text: “This hereditarily ill person will cost our national community 60,000 Reichsmarks over the court of his lifetime. Citizen, this is your money.”
This same logic – where the worth of individuals is seen only in light of how much money they cost society – is also at work in Canada. According to some reports, some hospital staffers mention to patients how much it costs for them to remain in the hospital while also discussing euthanasia with them.
Every innocent human life is infinitely valuable and should be protected from conception to natural death.
Any instance of euthanasia is a tragedy. But there seems to be an even greater level of evil when the individual who requests to be killed could be helped with better counseling or an increase in charity and a place to live.
For a country that prides itself on its “compassionate” government sponsored social services, these facts seem to illustrate a dramatic gap.
As Christians, we continue to work for the protection of those at the margins of society – those who need a listening ear or monetary help, rather than a deadly needle in the arm as a part of the government’s “final solution.”
If you or someone you know is struggling, and you don’t know where to turn, Focus on the Family is here to help.
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Photo from Getty Images.